2009 is over. I know. It’s crazy. So, even though I have failed at my 100 books in a year challenge, again. Dun dun duuun. In fact, as of right now, I have done worse than 2008, reaching only 87 books. A lot of that was the book slump that occupied most of October and November, which put me about 12 books behind.
Still, eighty-seven is enough for us to do a highs and lows, right?
Let’s do the lows first, shall we? Get them out of the way.
1. The Broken Shore, by Peter Temple. I bought this with a Christmas gift card from last year, but I didn’t read it until July. Well, I tried, more than once, but it took a four-hour plane ride with nothing else to read to finish it. I wasn’t impressed. It was violent and confusing and had very little satisfaction in the conclusion. Read more here.
2. Bel Canto, by Patchett. I really wanted to like it, but I didn’t. Perhaps because I know that my brother has seen horrible things over his last year of deployment in Afghanistan, and I felt like the hostage situation that seemed more like a garden party just felt insulting. Read more here.
3. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn. It was incredibly well-written, it was just also horrible. Every single character was broken, pulverized, missing a soul. Read more here.
4. Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan. This wasn’t a terrible book, it just seemed overpopulated and full of cliches. Read more here.
5. The Edible Woman, by Margaret Atwood. This was the most disappointing of her’s I’ve read. She can be a little over-the-top angry feminist, and this book was a little too much to handle. Read more here.
Then the top…
1. Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. This book is excellent, showing an honest and touching portrait of humanity. Read more here.
2. Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Yes. Just yes. Read more here.
3. Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins. I know this seems a little random, allowing a book and its sequel to both be on the top five, but…it just isn’t often that a book’s sequel is complex and satisfying like this one. Read more here.
2. The King of Attolia, by Megan Whalen Turner. In a different vein, this is the third of four books (well, the third of three and the fourth is due out soon) and while I recommend all three, Turner’s work gets better and better, and this was the best. Turner is good at telling a story with a twist, telling us a story that pulls our eyes in one direction while working out details in a completely different one. Read more here.
5. Glass of Time, by Michael Cox. This one was the best gothic novel of the year. Satisfying, not as tragic as its first, The Meaning of Night. Read more here.
And the bonus – the best re-reads of the year.
1. Up A Road Slowly, by Irene Hunt.
2. The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley.
3. The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood.
4. Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia C. Wrede.
5. Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte.
Now…what to read first in 2010? I’m not making any promises about 100 books this year, since it promises to be a busy year, and I’m knitting a lot these days. You know, the usual things.